Anti-Racism Working Group

We Stand for Racial Justice

“Justice, justice you shall pursue…”

Building on our Jewish commitments to social justice and solidarity with other historically disadvantaged groups, Beth El’s Antiracism Working Group mobilizes clergy, staff, leadership and congregants to move toward becoming antiracist individuals and an antiracist congregation.

What we do:

  • We challenge practices, policies, programs and norms that reinforce white Ashkenazi dominance at Beth El.
  • We advocate for a congregation-wide culture of inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging.
  • We create opportunities for the Beth El community to learn about racism, antiracism, white supremacy, and the experiences of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, including those who are Jewish.
  • We advocate for Beth El members to move from learning to antiracist action.
  • In partnership with other organizations and faith communities, we organize and participate in actions aimed at achieving racial equity and justice in and outside our congregation.

Read and Join Us!

Ann Barysh

Lisa Breit

When the Antiracism Working Group was established in 2020, Lisa Breit and Ann Barysh got to work creating a book group to help Beth El members learn and self-reflect on racism and whiteness. The Beth El Antiracism Book Group meets monthly and reads both fiction and nonfiction. Participants collectively choose the books and take turns facilitating discussions, often bringing in supplemental videos, interviews or articles to illuminate the material, leading to highly reflective and stimulating conversations.

Books discussed in 2020-21 included:

  • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

To join the Beth El Antiracism Working Group email listserv or for more information, email


See our resources page for definitions, useful links and book lists (both general, and titles being discussed by the Beth El Antiracism Working Group).

Antiracism Profile: Wendy Parker, M.D.

Rev. Anthony Lloyd, Greater Framingham Community Church (top row, second from left); Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Ed.D. (third row, first on left); and Wendy Parker, M.D., Beth El Antiracism Working Group (top row, last on right). Click image to enlarge.

Wendy Parker, M.D., was introduced to Rev. Anthony Lloyd, an African-American pastor in Framingham, by Beth El member Michael Brown, a longtime racial justice advocate. At Rev. Lloyd’s suggestion, Wendy helped organize a series of community conversations for African-American, Latino and Brazilian communities in Framingham on the importance of understanding covid and getting vaccinated.

Rev. Lloyd is pastor of the Greater Framingham Community Church. He spearheaded an effort to bring information about covid and covid vaccines to communities within Framingham in collaboration with Dr. Milagros Abreu of the Latino Health Insurance Program in Framingham and the Boston-based nonprofit group Health Care for All. Three educational virtual forums were held, one each for the African-American, Latino, and Brazilian communities. Speakers included Reverend Lloyd, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, EdD, Dr. Chika Vera Anekwe, Dr. Claude Alabre, Dr. Paulette Denise Chandler, and Diana Gist, R.N.

With the help of Anne Fox of the Mass. General Brigham program of Community Messengers and Dr. Lisa Sotir of MetroWest Medical Center, a different panel of physicians and a nurse from each community spoke at each forum. Presentations were made in Spanish for the Latino community and Portuguese for the Brazilian community. Wendy contacted the physicians and nurses, put together the agenda and organized each panel engaging participants in an extended Q&A.